Branch: Air Force
Duty Station: Naval Air Station Pensacola
Number of Deployments: 2
Number of PCS's: 4
Share your military spouse story:
My military spouse story begins on the other side of the world, in Kuwait! My husband and I met on the Kuwaiti seaside. I was working as a civilian at a private hospital, and my husband served at the U.S Embassy- Kuwait as a C-17 Air Advisor. A short year later, I became a proud military spouse. I don't only hold the title of an Air Force Spouse, I am now a Space Force Mom! I am a mom of four boys, three of my own and my stepson, Mason, who recently graduated from Basic Training and the newest servicemember of the U.S Space Force. I have a deep compassion for women in general, but even deeper compassion for women who hold a badge of resiliency.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
In 2018, I organized the first Wellness & Wisdom Summit at Joint Base Lewis McChord, to bring wellness, wisdom and purpose to spouses, active duty & veteran women. Since then, I've hosted over 1,200 women with two in-person and a virtual summit. Amidst the pandemic, I launched Wellness & Wisdom Magazine spotlighting amazing women around the globe, including military women. It was my honor to award Major General Jeannie Leavitt with the first Women Who Do Wonders Award last June in SA. In 2021, I was awarded the JA Impact Award for my efforts in building a philanthropic community, bringing together leaders and purpose-driven entrepreneurs. I also had the opportunity to showcase being a military spouse & advocate for women globally at the 2021 Oscar's and Emmy's Gifting Suites in LA.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
One of my favorite quotes is "Be better today than you were yesterday". From the first day of becoming a spouse, I volunteered and advocated at the different bases we have stationed. My greatest involvement began at Joint Base Lewis McChord where I made extensive efforts to bring together spouses, active duty and veteran women and provide wellness resources to them. Not only this, I worked solely, for months and months gathering gifts certificates from local businesses who wanted to support our women in service and our spouses. To date, I have given over $20,000 in gifts in gratitude, all thanks to businesses who support our women. As we settle in our new duty station, NAS Pensacola, I have already immersed myself into the local community and preparing the next big event.
Describe how you support your community:
It has been my greatest joy to empower, support and inspire other women in my community to go after their dreams even when the military can make it seem impossible. We moved three times last year before settling in our new home. I chose to remain in Texas during my husbands six month training before our psc. We lived out one room in Navy Lodge waiting for our home to be complete. But again, it's the resiliency we have that keeps me going and continuing to support others, even when it seems I need the support. Since being here in Florida, I have been a volunteer for human trafficking victims, volunteered packing food at Feeding the Gulf and preparing to host the next conference this year. I believe in the importance of diversity, inclusiveness and equality in all areas of life. My advocacy and passion for spouses and women around the globe is only growing day after day. I'll be better tomorrow, than I was today xx
What do you advocate for? Why?
It is pretty clear that my passion for supporting women runs deep. Not only is it important for me to support spouses, like me, and our women who serve. It is also important that I support women and children in underserved communities and victims of human trafficking. I founded my nonprofit, Mission Wonder Women in December of 2020 to support these women and children by providing mental health, selfcare and wellness resources. Last year, I was able to raise funds to assist in the building of a school in Turkey for Syrian refugee children and after my trek to Everest, provided sporting equipment (bicycles, volleyball and basketball gear, pyjamas and selfcare items) to the survivors at The Secret Place Pensacola. It was a test of my own mental fortitude to trek to Mount Everest BC & Mt. Kalamathar, as a novice climber, in support of mental health & wellness for women globally. 2022 is set to be even more impactful!
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I continue to shine a light on my advocacy through all forms of media, including my own publication, Wellness & Wisdom Magazine. It has been an honor to have been featured in a pitch show, 2 Minute Drill with David Meltzer, and win the JA Impact Award. I continue to be featured on podcast throughout the year to help spread my mission. This year will bring forward more speaking opportunities both in-person and virtual, as well as, collaborations with like-minded organizations to spread awareness and advocacy even further. My ultimate goal for 2022, is increase my visibility, the organization and nonprofit through any media opportunity presented.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
I have been so proud of the past AFI Military Spouse of the Year recipients. They have used their platforms honorably and have been awarded incredible opportunities to spread their advocacy even further. It would be my honor to represent NAS Pensacola and perhaps the title of Air Force AFI. If only I can achieve a small fraction of what some of these incredible spouses have done, than I'm already a winner! I am simply grateful for this nomination and humbled to be amongst some of the most incredible military spouses out there!
Pamela is an AMAZING military spouse with a heart of gold for our spouses. I met her at JBLM, WA while she was planning a Women and Wellness event on her own for milspouses. She is now in FL and continues to amaze me. Her dedication to our military spouses is so inspiring and she is very deserving of this award. She is a great example of how to love on our military community.
- by Sonia Garza